The major hotel Europe in Sarajevo will receive an important visit on the anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, attack that triggered World War. As the manager of ...
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The major hotel Europe in Sarajevo will receive an important visit on the anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, attack that triggered World War. As the manager of the place waiting to Jacques, a special French guest, workers in the kitchen preparing a strike because they have spent months without pay and journalist records a television show on the roof.
Official submission of Bosnia for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 89th Academy Awards in 2017, but it was not nominated. See more »
Did I see the same film as everyone else here?
After reading the other reviews on this page, I am seriously baffled as to how the other writers can give the film such a high rating. Everything about this film was like a trip to the dentist -- I know it's good for me, but very painful to have to sit through.
Since I gather that the purpose of the film is to present the history of the Serbian conflict in the form of entertainment, the filmmakers choose to use a semi-documentary/hybrid form, somewhat disjointed, as the scenes of the TV Reporter constantly interrupt the more emotional and engaging story of the hotel employees planning to strike.
The momentum of the story of the impeding strike is further disrupted by the droning rehearsal of a boring bore of a boar, a government official rehearsing his impossibly tedious speech, which is seen in an overhead spy cam.
In addition, the scenes of the hotel staff are inevitably shot from behind the characters as they walk along the endless hallways and the story is spelled out in relentless dribble that varies from deep personal observations to hostile confrontations. (The technique is reminiscent of "Elephant" by Gus Van Sant, and gives it an additional level of distance from the emotional aspect of the story.) In one horrible scene, shown in long shot, a leader of the strike is beaten into submission by a couple of hired thugs, which is highly symbolic of the overall theme.
By utilizing the various formats, the filmmakers have accomplished a kind of Brecht-ian distancing from the actual events and enabled a kind of "objective" reporting of the facts. We are never told who to sympathize with, and not presented with any moral conclusions. Yet there is an attempt to show a culture that is forever doomed to repeat it's own past mistakes. However, like a dose of bitter medicine, just because it's good for you doesn't mean you have to swallow it whole.
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